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Holiday Lean

The holidays at the end of the year are a time of reflection.  During this time we pause to look back and take stock of significant events in our lives during the previous 11 months.  This year I would like to offer some of my personal reflections from my collaboration with many committed, visionary, and courageous industry leaders and coaches.  Here they are, in no particular order:   

  • Achieving productive teamwork is difficult, especially when organizational and payment systems drive silo performance.
    • Regardless of the challenge there are many executive teams having the right conversations about how to put the needs of the patient first, while at the same addressing the challenge of payment systems that reward volume.
  • The answer is always in the principles; we ignore them at our own peril.
    • This has been proven right many times for me this year. I have seen how a lack of clarity in direction for an organization results in the inability of individuals to focus and align on what truly matters plus overburden at all levels.  I have also observed how bypassing the scientific method for problem solving results in rework, defects, and low staff engagement.
  • Building new habits is hard, but doable.
    • Consider this: At Animal Kingdom in Florida, every one of their 1500 animals is capable of offering a body part (happily!) to receive a shot of anesthesia so they can be treated, and some follow detailed instructions during their daily bath time.  All it takes is a lot of good coaching.
  • No matter how much you communicate, it’s never enough.
    • Different people receive and process information in different ways. Patients may receive a piece of paper with instructions during a visit but it may be totally useless, resulting in call-backs and rework.  Organizations are testing new ways (such as videos and apps) to cover a broader range of communication needs.  One of the best examples of patient-friendly communication I experienced is an app that gives you access to your medical records including doctor notes on appointments, procedures and test results, as well as the more common appointment reminders, etc.
  • Fostering experimentation within the scientific method cycle of learning is powerful.
    • When you unleash the creativity of those closest to the work and coach them through the scientific method, amazing things happen. More importantly, it will mean less work for you.

Overall, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity as part of my daily work, to work with healthcare leaders and coaches who are focused on the greater good of patients and the industry.  I don’t know how long it will take for our collective efforts to make a significant difference, but I know it’s the right thing to do.

What did you learn this year?  We would love to hear your reflections as we continue our joint learning journey in the coming year.

Marta Karlov, Director of Education
Catalysis

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